22 What is Heutagogy?

What is “Heutagogy”?

The foundation of my educational philosophy (and therefore the basis of my instructional design decisions for this course) is “Heutagogy”. Simply stated, it means that adults learn best when they have a lot of control over what they learn and how they learn it. In addition, heutagogy asserts that the assessment of adult learning should focus on what the learner believes she/he has learned and on the various ways that learning has impacted, or will impact her/his values, ideals, and behavior.

(See this link for an excellent synopsis of heutagogy:  http://www.nssa.us/journals/2007-28-1/2007-28-1-04.htm.  Additional resources relevant to the theoretical basis of heutagogy are available at http://www.technoheutagogy.com .)  
The learning objectives implicit in the heutagogical approach are different than those of traditional pedagogy and contemporary andragogy.  I have designed this course to create a learner directed learning environment that will expose each student to the generally accepted concepts, ideas, methods and ethical principles which comprise the acceptible conduct of research in the fields of Psychology.  In addition, the design of this course will provide the opportunity for each student to identify and explore the specific topics and ideas from the textbook and from the Web activities that she/he finds most important and relevant.

 Your role in the course…

All assignments in this course are designed to permit you as much flexibility as possible in determining the style and content of your participation.  As long as you comply with the requirements you can expect to be successful.

For the 5 numbered learning modules, each student:

  • reads the assigned chapters in the textbook
  • participates fully in the Q&A discussion forum
  • completes the Knowledge Audit Activities
For the Research Portfolio, each student participates actively throughout the semester.
I recognize that not all students have the same interests and motivations for taking this course. Hence, there are no content-specific learning goals required.  Rather, each student decides which specific content topics to focus on and discuss.  A desired outcome of this learner-directed learning environment is that each student will increase her/his capability to identify salient issues that are personally most interesting and most relevant and then orchestrate learning activities that result in meaningful cognitive growth and behavioral change.

In short – each learner sets her/his own content-specific learning objectives. This is the essence of a heutagogical design.

My role in the course…

The written assignments and discussion posts that you submit in this class are not for my benefit – they are for the benefit of you and the other students in the class. All of the course rules, policies, and requirements are designed to maximize the teaching / learning value of your coursework.

My role in the course begins with the instructional design process – to create a sequence of learning activities that:

  • engages each learner in a meaningful way with the course content and the other learners in the class.
  • requires each learner to also be a teacher – to add quality learning opportunities for the other students to benefit from.
  • allows maximum freedom for self-direction – so that each learner has the responsibility to forge their own learning path.

The extent to which I am successful in acheiving these three goals is the measure of success of the course. 

My teaching / learning roles include:

  • Answering questions and addressing concerns: I check the Course Messages, the Bulletin Board, and the “Talk With The Professor” discussion forums every day (sometimes twice a day!) and make it a point to get back to you immediately with the answers to your questions. If I do not answer your question promptly, let me know.
  • Monitoring and evaluating the Q&A discussion forums: Collectively, the learner-led discussion forums are the primary learning activity in this course, and I attempt to read every discussion comment made by every student every day. I enjoy the interplay, and I may jump in occasionally, but I do not respond to most posts.
  • Evaluating your Reflective Blog posts: Unlike the Q&A discussions, the blogs are designed as more formal “evaluations” of your learning.  Therefore, you are not given access to edit your blog posts.  I will evaluate the blog upon completion of the Knowledge Audit window and provide you with feedback as soon as possible following that date.
  • Evaluating your participation in the Portfolio forums: I will not be able to evaluate these activities until the end of the course, but you can expect to do well as long as you follow the instructions.
  • Maintaining an up-to-date grade book: Your graded assignments and discussions will be entered into the course grade book at the conclusion of each learning module. Check your grades regularly, and you will always know where you stand in this course.
  • Respond to any posts submitted to the “Talk With The Professor” discussion forums: There may be times when  you want my input, opinion, and expertise on an issue being discussed in a Q&A forum or one of the other graded forums. I monitor the “Talk With The Professor” area daily, and I will respondquickly to any questions you have.
I have designed this course in accordance with my belief that students learn best when they have substantial control over what they learn. This “Student Centered” approach works best when the students understand exactly what their responsibilities are, and exactly how they will be evaluated. If you have any questions or concerns about either of these issues, contact me through the course Bulletin Board or one of the “Talk With the Professor” forums.


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Research Methods for the Social Sciences Copyright © by Lumen Learning is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License, except where otherwise noted.

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